By Peter Zuk, an Associate with LeClaireRyan in the firm’s Alexandria, VA office. 

In November 2018, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) published a proposed rule to amend labeling regulations governing wine, distilled spirits, and malt beverages, 83 Fed. Reg. 60562 (Nov. 26, 2018).  TTB’s stated intent is to reorganize and recodify the rules surrounding labeling in a new section and reduce the regulatory burden on alcoholic-beverage producers.  The advertising regulations for all three industries would be unified in one Code of Federal Regulations section (27 CFR Part 14).

Comments are due by March 26, 2019.  Comments and replies may be mailed to TTB or submitted electronically (

Many of the current regulations enforced by the TTB and its predecessor organization, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, have Prohibition-era roots and limit wine, spirits, and beer promotion.  For instance, alcohol-products labels cannot contain the term “pre-war strength”—an antiquated reference to the time after World War I.  The proposed reform removes this ban and takes other good-faith steps to modernize the rules so they are more in step with vast evolutionary changes in the three industries.  It proposes updates to many sections on false and misleading statements and recognizes wine, spirits, and beer businesses’ increased use of commodity terms.